x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Israel to speed up settlement building

Israel has ordered accelerated construction for Israelis in east Jerusalem, the section claimed by the Palestinians as their capital.

JERUSALEM // Israel said yesterday it had ordered accelerated construction for Israelis in east Jerusalem, the section claimed by the Palestinians as their capital, and nearby West Bank settlements.

A statement from the office of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said 2,000 new apartments would be built. Construction would be years away because of planning and permit procedures.

An Israeli official said the construction was a response to unilateral moves by the Palestinians.

Palestinians have demanded an end to all construction in Israeli settlements before peace talks can resume. Israel rejects that as a precondition.

Announcements of new Israeli building projects in east Jerusalem regularly draw criticism from the Palestinians, the US and Europe.